Maybe you missed the story recently. An historic Baptist church outside Boston was struck by lightning and the church building burned to the ground- totally destroyed. Some 100 firefighters fought the futile battle and then helped remove items from the church. There were precious few articles that were not engulfed in the fire but one of them was a large painting of Jesus.
While we join with the congregants of the First Baptist Church of Wakefield in mourning the loss of what was their church home for 150 years, we can also join them in embracing the hope that comes with the miraculous appearance of the image of Jesus literally taken out of the ashes.
As we in the Church talk about leadership and are quick to baptize secular management theory and business software, we are reminded that the Christian church – as founded by Jesus – had a pretty good business model in that it has been around for some 2,000 years. Often this has been the result of the dedication of the saints to mission and ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. Other times it has been in spite of the leadership of the Church.
To what do we attribute this miraculous continuity of the Church through persecution, heresy, world wars, secularism, and post-modernist attacks? In John 14:6, Jesus tells the disciples that when he is gone, God will give them another Advocate. It is this Holy Spirit that leads us through tumultuous times.
Yes, we want to use all the technology and management acumen at our disposal. Yes, we expect our church leaders to make good decisions that provide for the future of the Church. But all the while we cannot forget to listen for the guidance of the Advocate that sees us through challenging times.